In mid-November, I had the opportunity to visit the Stockade District in Kingston for two days of shooting. Having visited Kingston many times over the decades, it seems to me that the often-discussed but long-time-in-the-making revitalization efforts for the uptown area have finally taken firm root. The neighborhood feels more welcoming. New restaurants, boutiques, galleries and trendy wares can be found at every turn. There is an overall positive vibe, and a friendlier welcome, that has not been there on my previous visits. And while this remarkable revitalization has been critical to the city's resurgence, both for locals and tourists, it is the "old" as much as the "new" that attracts the photographer.
The Stockade District of Kingston is home to over, depending on how you count them, 33 historically significant buildings, many of which are two or three centuries old. The entire historic district while architecturally diverse enough to keep the photographer busy all day is still compact enough as to be eminently walkable. There is much to photograph within a few block radius. Just about all the architectural sites listed on the tourist maps are worth a visit. However, that being said, if you are short on photography time, I would say that my favorite buildings in the Stockade District include, in no particular order, the Henry Sleight House, the four houses at the Four Corners, the arcades along Wall Street and North Front Street, and the Fred J. Johnston Museum.
As you wander the streets of Kingston, and although it can be said for any photographic destination, go beyond the obvious. Look for details. The storefront. The sign. The mural. The brick facade. The colorful window shutters. The graveyard. The church steeple. And speaking of churches, every photographer wants to shoot the Old Dutch Church, but many of the other neighborhood churches offer just as much curbside appeal. For example, try shooting the Saint James United Methodist Church (at the corner of Fair and Pearl Streets) for a church that has the appearance of a castle.
All told, the enjoyable two day visit to Kingston provided an architectural step back in time, and some interesting additions to my study of this great city. I am already looking forward to my next trip. I would certainly recommend a photography visit to Kingston, particularly for those photographers with a leaning towards history and architecture.